Aphrodite is a goddess as old as time, belonging to a lineage of female goddesses who represented fertility in antiquity. The cult of Aphrodite was probably based on the cult of Astarte of Phenicia, which was revered throughout the Middle East as sovereign of the world. However, as religious syncretism was very strong at that time, the origin of the goddesses is not exactly known. For example, in the Babylonian Empire, Astarte was related to the goddess Ishtar. She would also be associated with the Syrian goddess Atargatis and the Sumerian love goddess, Inanna.
According to Pausânias, the Assyrians were the first civilization to found a cult of Aphrodite, a thesis that makes sense, in view of a research that reveals the Mesopotamian influence on Greek society and mythology, before 700 BC The cult of Aphrodite in Greece probably it was introduced from Syria to the islands of Cyprus, Kythera, Corinth and others, from where it spread throughout the Greek region.
Then, the goddess of love would have "been born" in the Mediterranean, where the goddesses mentioned were worshiped. Aphrodite is also quite similar to the goddess Hator of Egypt, who was seen as Aphrodite by the Greeks. Astarte, Ishtar, Inanna, Hator and Aphrodite are seen to be goddesses of common attributes, who were generally seen as a single goddess, making it difficult to determine precisely who influenced whom, although historians agree that the cult of Aphrodite is of Eastern origin.
In the Roman Empire, another syncretism would occur and Aphrodite would be transformed into Venus. Despite the efforts of mythographers to "Hellenize" Aphrodite, it has always betrayed its Asian origin. In the Iliad this is very noticeable. His protection and predilection for the Trojans living in Asia Minor and particularly for Aeneas, fruit of his love with Anquises, denote his non-Greek origin.